We join the crowd lining a glorious avenue of trees. The day feels fresh and new, and the world is young again – colours dazzle, and all of the senses we never knew had dimmed are renewed with vigour and life. Anticipation and excitement hang on the air as the crowd look down the road with expectation.
A figure approaches along the road. He is glorious. He is young and yet full of the wisdom of ages. He is a mighty warrior, and yet gentle and humble. His form is perfect and yet he bears terrible scars. I could gaze upon him forever.
And I have plenty of time to do so, because he stops before each person. And each person is treated differently, because he knows. He knows the sorrows and the joys, the triumphs and the losses.
Some, he wraps up in an enormous bear hug – embracing them in the way they remember from their childhood, or in the way they wish they could remember from their childhood.
For some he looks deeply into tear-filled eyes, and gently wipes away the pain and grief of years.
Others instinctively shy away, crouching down low so as not to be noticed. For them, he kneels, places his hand upon their cheek and carefully lifts their head. ‘Even that.’ He whispers, ‘Even that can be forgiven.’
And for me? We dance. Not a slow dance or an awkward school disco shuffle, but something more like the ‘swing your partners’ at a Ceilidh. It is exuberant and joyful, laughter bubbling up to erase the cares and worries brought about by living too much from my own resources and not his.
We celebrate together – celebrate his remarkable coronation and his irresistible power, goodness and holiness that overthrew Satan and all the works of darkness that kept the world in bondage.
And as I watch him greet each person in turn, I realise that my King, my wonderful Lord, is finally completing my life’s work, and the work of his church down the centuries. He is proclaiming good news for the poor, binding up the broken-hearted, proclaiming freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the oppressed. He is comforting those who mourn and providing for those who grieve.
This, to me is Christ the King. I partner with him in his mission to the world, and none of it is wasted as I put my hope in his future glory and the putting right of all things.